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              Silk
              Learn Chinese - History and Culture

              ???????? Silk
              China is the earliest country to have produced silk (sī chóu 絲綢). Silk is a symbol of the ancient culture of China. Legend has it that Lei Zu (léi zǔ 嫘祖), wife of Emperor Huangdi (huáng dì 黃帝), invented sericulture (yǎng cán 養蠶), silk reeling (sāo sī 繅絲) and weaving. Chinese archaeologists believe the technology of silk weaving has at least a history of more than 4000 years.

              Silk ClothesDuring Neolithic Age (xīn shí qì shí dài 新石器時代), China had begun to raise silk worms and weave silk. Silk production began to take shape in Shang (shāng 商)?Dynasty, and the workmanship was improved. To the Qin (qín 秦)?and Han?(hàn 漢)?dynasties, silk production was in a great development.

              Silks were originally reserved for the Kings of China for their own use and gifts to others, but spread gradually through Chinese culture and trade both geographically and socially, and then to many regions of Asia. Silk rapidly became a popular luxury fabric in the many areas accessible to Chinese merchants because of its texture and luster.

              Silk RoadIn Han Dynasty, Zhang Qian (zhāng qiān 張騫), a famous diplomat of the time, opened up the "Silk Road" (sī chóu zhī lù 絲綢之路). The road was started in ancient Chang’an (cháng ān 長安), by way of Gansu (gān sù 甘肅), Xinjiang (xīn jiāng 新疆), leading its way to Central Asia, West Asia and then to Europe. Silk was continuously transported to the western countries along the road. Silk trading and exporting was unprecedentedly prosperous. The trading has promoted the economy and cultural exchange between China and the neighboring country and middle plains of China and the border land. Silk Road has not only brought the beautiful clothes to the western world, but also the splendid ancient oriental civilization.

              Westerners were very fond of Chinese silk. It is said that during the first century AD, a Roman emperor went to a theater wearing silk, which made a great stir in the audience. Since then, people wished to wear clothes made of Chinese silk. China, therefore, was called the “Silk Country”(sī guó 絲國).

              絲綢
              ????? 絲綢是中國古老文化的象征,中國古老的絲綢業為中華民族文化織繡了光輝的篇。幾千年前,當絲綢沿著古絲綢之路傳向歐洲,它所帶去的,不僅僅是一件件華美的服飾、飾品,更是東方古老燦爛的文明,絲綢從那時起,幾乎就成為了東方文明的傳播者和象征。目前已知的最早絲織物,是出土于距今約4700年良諸文化的遺址。中國人工養蠶則最可以追溯到公元前三世紀。

              Silk Clothes????? 關于絲綢中國有一個悠遠的傳說:遠古時代,黃帝打敗了蚩尤,"蠶神"親自將她吐的絲奉獻出來以示敬意。黃帝命人將絲織成了絹,以絹縫衣,穿著異常舒服。黃帝之妻西陵氏嫘祖便去尋找能吐絲的蠶種,采桑飼蠶。后世民間崇奉嫘祖為養蠶的蠶神,黃帝為織絲的機神。采桑養蠶與制絲織綢,便成了中國古代社會幾千年的基本勞作手段。

              ????? 新石器時期中期,中國便開始了養蠶、取絲、織綢了。到了商代,絲綢生產已經初具規模,具有較高的工藝水平,有了復雜的織機和織造手藝。

              ????? 到了秦漢時期,絲織業不但得到了大發展,而且隨著漢代中國對外的大規模擴展影響,絲綢的貿易和輸出達到空前繁榮的地步。貿易的推動使得中原和邊疆、中國和東西鄰邦的經濟、文化交流進一步發展,從而形成了著名的"絲綢之路"。這條路從古長安出發,經甘肅、新疆一直西去,經過中亞、西亞,最終抵達歐洲。公元前126年,在漢武帝的西進政策下,大量中國絲綢通過"絲綢之路"向西運輸。

              ????? 唐朝是絲綢生產的鼎盛時期,無論產量、質量和品種都達到了前所未有的水平。絲綢的生產組織分為宮廷手工業、農村副業和獨立手工業三種,規模較前代大大擴充了。同時,絲綢的對外貿易也得到巨大的發展,不但"絲綢之路"的通道增加到了三條,而且貿易的頻繁程度也空前高漲。絲綢的生產和貿易為唐代的繁榮做出了巨大的貢獻。

              ????? 宋元時期,隨著蠶桑技術的進步,中國絲綢有過短暫的輝煌。不但絲綢的花色品種有明顯的增加,而且對蠶桑生產技術的總結和推廣也取得了很大的突破。

              ????? 明清兩代,由于資本主義的萌芽與發展,絲綢的生產與貿易也發生了較大的變化:絲綢生產的商品化趨勢日漸明顯,絲綢的海外貿易發展迅速。但是,在清國時期,封建制度對生產力的阻礙也十分突出,中國絲綢業在苛捐雜稅和洋稠傾銷的雙重打擊下,陷入了十分可悲的境地。

              ????? 中華人民共和國成立后,絲綢業進入了一個新的歷史時期。經過多年的努力,中國又爭得了在世界絲綢市場上的主導地位,絲綢業成為國家的創匯支柱產業。我國絲綢更得到了迅速發展,建成較完整的絲綢業體系,絲綢產品已行銷全世界100多個國家和地區。我國古老的絲綢在改革開放的新形勢下,正煥發出新的青春,走向燦爛的未來。

               

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